Fall Beers Are Here!
Looks like fall is in full bloom today. For some that means cooler weather, leaves turning beautiful colors and harbingers of winter. For us it means Solano, our Pueblo chili pepper beer is coming. This year’s no exception and we’re canning it today. If fact, I’m at the brewery getting ready to take my shift on the canning line.
We will be releasing Solano tomorrow – at the Back Bar only. You may be wondering why that is. When we put Solano on a tap line, the chili flavor never, ever leaves that line and any beer we put on after that tastes of chili peppers. The lines in the taproom are quite long and extremely difficult to replace. However, the lines in the Back Bar aren’t nearly as long and are easily replaced, so we’re able to put Solano on a line in the Back Bar, then replace that line when we want to put another beer on it. The Back Bar isn’t open today – BUT you’ll get to try Coles’s today and this year’s Solano tomorrow. My sister, Nancy, always says that life is better when you have something to look forward to.
WARNING: DeTomaso Farms, the farm we get the chili peppers from, warned us to know that the chilis are spicier this year.
Today is also Thursday, or better known at Crystal Springs as “Thirsty Thursday.” Every year we make a wet hop beer and we get the hops from Cole, a former student of mine. He grows a large quantity of Nugget and Cascade hops in his back yard. For several years now we’ve made a wet hop beer, Cole’s Pale Ale. This year we even added some Cascade and Centennial hops from the hops Kristy and I grow. And yes, it’s ready and it will be on tap in the taproom today. Every year it is a little different. While the base recipe is always the same, each year we make adjustments to accommodate for the hops. This year’s Cole’s Wet Hop is a delightfully drinkable pale ale with the great flavors that only a fresh hop beer can give. For those of you who aren’t familiar with “wet hop” beers, they are beers that are made with hops freshly picked and go straight into the boil kettle. Cole cuts the bines early in the morning of the brew day, while we get the mash going. He brings them to our Sunshine Canyon brewery and a crew of employee volunteers begins the work of picking the hops from the bines. By the time we have enough for the first hop addition, the boil is ready to receive them. This continues throughout the day. Fresh hops have not been dried so have not been subjected to any heat, so the flavors from the hop oils are prominent – more intense, yet gentler. They also contain about 80% more moisture than dried or pellet hops – hence the term, wet hops. Since we do not have an analysis on these hops, we can only guess at the IBUs – this year they came out to about 48 IBUs. Alcohol by volume is 5.9%. I know I’m going to stop by after canning today, and enjoy a pint and Cole might even be there today.
We had planned to have a party on Saturday to celebrate winning a gold medal at GABF this year, but the last couple weeks have been so busy, we just weren’t able to get our acts together. Regardless, Kristy and I decided we should celebrate anyway. So we’ll be at the taproom on Saturday to celebrate but have nothing really special planned, other than to celebrate. Come join us if you’d like and, if you haven’t tried Blood Orange yet, we’ll give you a sample.
That’s about it for now. Weston, our new head brewer, created a hazy rye IPA that will most likely be on tap next Thirsty Thursday, but I’ll give you more information on that next week. Black Saddle, our barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout, is about ready to bottle. We’re shooting for releasing that on November 13th. Have a great day and I hope to see you this afternoon.